The first results of experiments with haematite for reconstruction of the Upper Palaeolithic art practices in Kapova cave
Ekaterina Sadova  1, *@  , Vladislav Zhitenev  1@  
1 : Lomonosov Moscow State University  (MSU)  -  Site web
GSP-1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation -  Russie
* : Auteur correspondant

Kapova сave is located in the Southern Urals (Russia). Upper Paleolithic wall paintings represented by figures of mammoths, horses, rhinoceros, bison, fish, camel, zooantropomorph and geometrical signs. They are mostly made with ochre of different shades of red.
A series of experiments were conducted for obtaining a pigment's colours, similar to that were used in Kapova сave to create the wall paintings for the reconstruction of Upper Paleolithic art practices. The raw materials were brown iron ore (haematite), the deposition of which are located nearly 2 km from the cave. This same raw material was used by the artists of the Upper Paleolithic in the Kapova cave, which was revealed by the results of the analysis of the pigment of the drawings and the pigment from the cultural layers.
Selected samples were burned in order to get equivalent examples of ochre. Such processing methods as crushing and adzing the same piece of haematite were used. Pigments were obtained that differ in color and intensity. One of the most important results, from the point of view of comparison with materials from the Upper Paleolithic cultural layers, was the identification of raw material processing technique, the traces of which can be seen on the materials from Kapova cave and Talitsky's site. The observed result was obtained by grinding by stone a piece of haematite placed on the tile (after a preliminary crushing of the lateral part of this stone into smaller pieces). Traces of the paint were very few and barely noticeable on the lateral side, but on the side which we triturated haematit, there was a very large amount of ochre, embedded in the surface of the stone and not being scraped off by shaking. It is possible to assume that such technique (or similar one) were used to make the coloring pigments, which then were used in artistic practices.
It has also been experimentally confirmed that the color of the pigment varies depending on the method of processing the original raw materials, and not only on additional ingredients which mix directly with the main pigment.
The results of the study of possible techniques for processing raw materials for obtaining different colors and shades of coloring matter, as well as processing traces that can be observed on the (lime)stones after the experiment, permit to identify better the separate functional zones of the underground cave with wall images of the Upper Paleolithic.


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